Behind the Story: How NPR and ProPublica exposed problems with the Red Cross’ response to Superstorm Sandy

Justin Elliott of ProPublica Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger and Laura Sullivan turned a vague tip about the American Red Cross’ inefficiency into a powerful report about the organization’s failings after Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy. The joint project between ProPublica and NPR revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from donors in 2012…

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Behind the Story: How Chicago Magazine exposed the truth about the city’s crime rates

Chicago Magazine | June 2014 A story that helped change the way Chicagoans digest crime stats started with suspicion. Immersed in a different crime-related piece, Chicago Magazine Features Editor David Bernstein and Contributing Writer Noah Isackson noticed something amiss with the statistics. When their trusted police sources voiced skepticism, the early trappings of an idea…

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Petition offers journalists a chance to support Risen

Last month, more than 1,600 IRE members gathered in San Francisco for training and to discuss the biggest issues facing our craft. Chief among them was the threat of government actions against investigative journalists and their sources, as underscored by Lowell Bergman’s keynote speech, a panel on whistleblowers including Daniel Ellsberg and a showcase panel…

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How to build trust and get reluctant sources to talk

By Laura Rena Murray Ellen Gabler of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tony Kovaleski of NBC Bay Area, Ellen Weiss of Scripps Washington Bureau and documentary producer Andrés Cediel discussed cautionary steps to consider when identifying sources and offered advice on getting reluctant sources to speak at the IRE Conference in San Francisco. Key recommendations for…

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How to use inspection data to drive your stories

By Hannah Schmidt Joce Sterman of WMAR-Baltimore and Michael Pell of Reuters explain where reporters can find inspection data and how they can incorporate it into investigative pieces. Where do you find inspection data? Pell suggested reporters check the following organizations: U.S. Government Accountability Office U.S. Chemical Safety Board National Transportation Safety Board Office of Inspector…

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How journalists can learn safer communication and improve online security

The New York Times Magazine this week profiles documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and her role in helping National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leak thousands of classified documents regarding government surveillance programs. From the magazine: Poitras possesses a new skill set that is particularly vital — and far from the journalistic norm — in an…

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The Obama administration’s war on leaks

// Leonard Downie Jr, far right, moderates the showcase panel entitled “The government’s war on leaks” with (l-r) Michael Oreskes of the Associated Press, Lucy Dalglish of the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, author James Bamford and independent journalist Quinn Norton. Photo: Travis Hartman. The Obama administration’s war on leaks didn’t start with Edward Snowden.…

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Getting skeptical sources to talk

By Erin Griffin At the recent IRE Conference in San Antonio, Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Michael Isikoff of NBC shared some tips on how to get skeptical sources to talk with you. Below are some of their suggestions: Try to understand why they are reluctant. Throw out some information that they might…

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New board members elected at membership meeting

Four incumbents and two new members were elected to the IRE Board of Directors during the annual membership meeting June 11 in Orlando. The board members will serve two-year terms on the 13-member board. Here are the election winners (with vote totals): Incumbent Alison Young, USA Today (207) Incumbent Leonard Downie, Jr., Arizona State University/ The Washington…

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